It is a great time to be an employee, employers have never looked after their employee's physical wellbeing to such an extent. There is legislation in place to ensure first-aiders are on hand if an employee hurts themselves and many large organisations offer fitness benefits such as discounted gym memberships. It is commendable the length some organisations go to, ensuring that physical well-being is taken care of - but what about mental wellbeing?
Mental Health First aid is currently at the forefront of the news and something we have discussed in our previous articles over the last few weeks. Statistics have shown alarming levels of mental distress, suicide rates are on the rise along with the number of people being signed off sick from work due to stress. There is no question that the physical health of employees is of utmost importance, but it is time that the same importance is placed on mental wellbeing too.
Prince William is just one of the influential people who has recently spoken out about emotional issues he faced whilst working with the air ambulance, that some of the experiences left him feeling "very down". Prince William was brave to speak out about the benefits of opening up to colleagues and how they helped him come to terms with "the enormous sadness" of the events. He clearly outlined how easy it is for a snowball effect to take place if there isn't the right support at work.
According to the Mental Health Foundation, it's estimated that one in six people will experience mental health issues in the workplace and that women working full-time are twice as likely to suffer as men. Evidence further suggests that 12.7% of sick days are a result of mental health conditions, a damning statistic that is making organisations stand up and take note.
We are hopeful that, in due course, looking after employees' mental health will become a legal requirement. In the meantime, many organisations are taking it upon themselves to train staff in mental health first aid and tackle the problem from the ground up.